Chengdu, the ancient gateway to the southern Silk Road that reached the Middle East, has long been an open and prosperous city.
Chengdu, the ancient gateway to the southern Silk Road that reached the Middle East, has long been an open and prosperous city. The city still focuses on further opening up by improving facilities and sharpening its competitiveness as an innovation hub to attract investment.
As China promotes the Belt and Road Initiative, Chengdu, which is located at the intersection of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Yangtze River Economic Belt, has grabbed much global attention.
However, it is seldom reported that the city is also the starting point of the southern Silk Road, part of the ancient Silk Road that stretched from southwestern China, branching out into Myanmar, Thailand and India before taking traders all the way to the Middle East.
Historians say this trade route, hidden among the hills along the winding roads in the country's southwest, used to be the main connection between Chengdu and neighboring nations. Silk, textiles and iron products from Chengdu were exported to what are now called Afghanistan and Myanmar; and ivory, seashells and colored glaze products were brought into Chengdu, according to historians. The silk products from Chengdu, known as Shu brocade, constituted the bulk of exports to foreign countries during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD).
Lin Ling, a renowned economist and former deputy director of the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, said the economy of Chengdu has long been very open and the city has always been active in economic and cultural exchanges with neighboring countries.
"The cultural and spiritual DNA of Chengdu, I think, lies in its innovation, its tolerance and its eagerness to open up and interact with the world," Lin said.
The modern Chengdu appeals to international investors with its booming innovation, high-tech industries and well-developed facilities.
Two of Chengdu's economic powerhouses, the High-tech Industrial Development Zone and the Tianfu New Area, have lined up a range of significant projects this year.
Tianfu New Area was founded in 2010 and covers the province's three cities,Chengdu, Meishan and Ziyang, seven counties and 37 townships. The section in Chengdu accounts for 82 percent of the whole area, which was approved as a State-level new area in 2014. Since then, it has been backed up with national strategies at the top of the nation's agenda.